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Isaac Newton: And the Scientific Revolution (Oxford Portraits in Science) [Kindle Edition]

Gale E. Christianson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1665, when an epidemic of the plague forced Cambridge University to close, Isaac Newton, then a young, undistinguished scholar, returned to his childhood home in rural England. Away from his colleagues and professors, Newton embarked on one of the greatest intellectual odysseys in the history of science: he began to formulate the law of universal gravitation, developed the calculus, and made revolutionary discoveries about the nature of light. After his return to Cambridge, Newton's genius was quickly recognized and his reputation forever established. This biography also allows us to see the personal side of Newton, whose life away from science was equally fascinating. Quarrelsome, quirky, and not above using his position to silence critics and further his own career, he was an authentic genius with all too human faults.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up. This is not just a great biography?it's one of the best-written science books around for young people. Christianson has sifted through the historical documents and accounts of Newton to paint a convincing and intelligent picture of the complex and at times irascible genius. Even more remarkable, the biographical portrait he presents is a compelling story. It begins with a beheading?that of Charles I?and ends with the poetic image of visitors to Newton's gravesite pausing "in silent tribute to the sacred permanence of the dead." The author demonstrates a remarkable sense of Newton and his times. For example, while many other biographers struggle to explain his experiments in alchemy, Christianson puts them in context of the great scientist trying to unravel the mysteries of the atomic world with the best tools available to him. The narrative also shows how Newton changed as he grew older: from a young, intense, reclusive academic to a living legend justifiably vain about his reputation. Reproductions of documents, Newton's sketches, and paintings of well-known figures illustrate this fine book.?Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Scientific American

Born early on Christmas morning of 1642, his illiterate father recently dead, Isaac Newton was raised by his grandmother. His life was fed by his vigorous mind and hands; the lonely boy read widely and filled his days with skywatching, kites, sundials, carving and model making. He attended boarding school near his home, ranking second to last among 80 students, but he graduated at 18 the star of the school and went on to the University of Cambridge. A new college graduate, his genius yet unrecognized, he returned home at age 22, after the university was closed by the coming of plague. For almost two years, he worked alone, establishing the modern methods and much of the matter of theoretical physics for two centuries: the ideas of the calculus, its application to motion for apple and moon alike, gravitation made semiquantitative and perhaps universal, and the nature of white light and color. The resemblance to the young Einstein at the Patent Office in Bern is evident; the human differences between Newton, without wife or nearby friends, and Einstein's happier world are manifest. Less a scientific biography than a personal one, it does not try to popularize Newton's physics. Of course, it includes his entire career, his litigious rivalries, his work style, so secretive and shy, and his voluminous accomplishments, until a complex emotional breakdown took him away to official London at age 52. Newton died wealthy and celebrated, even rather less lonely through his niece, a famous beauty, and her slightly scandalous high-society circle.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3529 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 16, 1996)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QGDV7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,912 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! August 2, 1999
I have never read a biography quite as good as this. This book has some of the best descriptions of Newton that I've ever heard: "Like Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton was not just an aimless childhood tinkerer, but a tinkerer playing with ideas and mechanisms." It has so many interesting details about his life, such as the jumping contest at school, or the many different clocks that he made. This book made me realize that Newton wasn't just a great scientist, but a political figure as well, with a seat in Parliment, head of the Royal Society, and Director of the Mint. If it is possible, Cristianson would be my nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The book, Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revoultion, was a good book beacause it went futher than the inventions and into Isaac Newton, the man. The book showed his public and private fueds with rival scientists. The books also shows his emotions; lots of resenment and hate, love of the unknown, and joy of experinicng life to the fullest. The only bad part of the book was it was to fast; it didn't show enough of the discoverery, it raced along to show what happened to Newton after the discovery like his fame and how it destroyed his rivals. But in the end you feel like you knew Newton and lived in the Scientiic revolution.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book gives an excellent portrayal of Isaac Newtons life and discoveries. It shows how a childhood dilemma leads to Isaacs will to succeed. It also depicts Newton`s social life with friends such as halley and John Locke. The book shows his feuds with rival inventors such as John Flamsteed. This book deserves 5 star for it depicts Newtons scientific genius inside his personal world.
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